It will be a year tomorow since Don passed away.
But if for a while
I think of you, dear friend,
all losses are restored
and sorrows end.
The day begins much like any other day,
The time is in the year before Don got sick.
It’s a Wednesday
The day he would often stop in on his way down to the coast.
I always looked forward to Wednesdays knowing the day would only get better for his visit.
I’m in the garden when he arrives picking the last tomatoes of the season,
A good wet season.
There is abundance and ripeness.
He scrunches a bunch of tomato leaves in his hand inhales the aroma takes a big bite from a ripe tomato and all is well with the world.
In the car he has something special to show me.
From amongst the ordered clutter in the old black bus he hands me a survey map and asks if I have any gum boots,
We’re going to see Wye River the site of his latest and most ambitious project.
On the way down through the winding roads of the Otways there is little conversation.
The bleating phone is switched off and each passing minute sees the weight of the city lifted from his brow.
How’s the rain been? What’s in the garden?
We speak of Di, of Uschi, of mates seen that week, snippets of news and goss Punctuated by knowing looks at the sight of the forest, the first glimpse of the ocean.
We silently glide through Lorne and head west.
We walk over a small stream at Separation Creek to his first special spot.
Imaginary theodolites take sightings,
There is talk of a house possibly his and Uschi’s for the kids?
He is at his best near the ocean.
We head on up the hill slipping and sliding and begin to walk over the main site.
There are stones marking out the ground and his dream is slowly revealed.
Many of you are there with him doing what you do as part of this grand design. The builders, the architects, the artists, the cooks.
The makers,the growers, the dreamers and the shakers, we are all there breaking the ground.
We look at the lichen on the trees the fungi amongst the forest floor, the mess of weeds on this long abandoned farm.
All the while his inner eye is adding layers to the landscape.
Inevitably talk of lunch begins to take hold.
We head back to the pub where favourite wines are offered
Beers, fish and chips a crisp riesling
Looking at waves that convince us there is time for a short dip.
On the stretch of road between Separation and Lorne he sees something out of the corner of his eye and points to two whales frolicking
We stop and gaze on their play for a few minutes before heading back to Birre.
Back at home I show him where the ripe tomatoes are,
Where the basil and rocket is at its best, the garlic in the shed
He will be back on friday picking lunch for his beloved for the weekend to come.
He was my friend
a kind man